63. Editorial Note

On March 19, 1962, Ambassador Bonsal informed the Department of State that King Hassan II of Morocco had asked that the United States transport FLN leader Ahmed Ben Bella and his associates from Geneva to Morocco as soon as possible in two separate U.S. Government planes. (Telegram 1571 from Rabat; Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/3-1962) Komer transmitted this information to McGeorge Bundy in a note, adding that providing planes “would help cement relations with Morocco and Algerians, while not unduly upsetting French.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer) In a subsequent telephone discussion about the King’s request, Ball expressed concern to McGhee over “French sensitivity” and the danger of a crisis in France. McGhee said they would tell the French that the United States could not refuse the request because it came from the King of Morocco. McGhee agreed to check the possibility of chartering a commercial plane. (Memorandum of telephone conversation, March 19, 7:21 p.m.; Kennedy Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, Algeria)

On March 20, the Department instructed the Embassy in Rabat to inform King Hassan that a Pan American Airlines Boeing 707, which was chartered to the U.S. Military Air Transport Service (MATS), could be made available to transport the Algerians from Geneva to Nouasseur in Morocco. The Embassy in Paris was told to explain to the French Government that the United States could not refuse this request because it came from King Hassan. (Telegram 1400 to Rabat, repeated to Paris as 5007; Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/3-1962) On March 21, the Consulate General in Geneva reported that the Algerians had departed at 12:06 a.m., March 21, Geneva time. (Telegram 955 from Geneva; ibid.) On March 22, Moroccan Ambassador Ali Bengelloun called on President Kennedy to convey King Hassan’s appreciation. (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 751S.00/3-2262)